Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes
Written by Scott Cawthon & Kira Breed-Wrisley
Published by Scholastic, Inc. (September 2016)
[Original edition published December 2015]
The novel is an adaptation of the popular indie video game series developed by Scott Cawthon. It is based off of the first game in the series, Five Nights at Freddy’s, released on August 8th, 2014.
The story follows Charlie as she returns to her hometown to attend the memorial of her friend Micheal, who was murdered ten years ago. Her father founded the restaurant Freddy Fazbear’s, in which Micheal and four other children were murdered. No one was found guilty. After the murders, her mother left and her father killed himself out of grief. Charlie was taken in by her aunt and left town. After the service, she and her friends decide to break into the restaurant for kicks and out of grief for the dead children. They soon discover the many horrors and truths inside the restaurant.
Without any context of the games, it’s a fairly formulaic horror novel. Protagonist returns to a scene of previous horror and uncovers hidden memories and discovers the truth as to what caused the horror. The teenagers act like teenagers and sometimes make dumb decisions (such as going into the abandoned restaurant FIVE TIMES without telling any adults) and the reveal of the mystery is fairly obvious.
However, it still manages to hold its own in terms of scares, horror, and enjoyability. Charlie and her friends are still likable characters, guided more by trauma and the need for answers rather than the more usual “Let’s check out this spooky place” trope. The tragedy and horror hold weight and carries the narrative effectively without becoming too droll or silly.
The horrors and tension you’d expect in a horror novel are delivered quite well in the form of giant animatronics able to move and attack on their own. The descriptions of them chasing and surprising the characters deliver the terror of giant machines moving and attacking on their own effectively and will make you think twice before entering a Chuck E. Cheese’s ever again. The entire scenario really calls back to the first two Halloween movies, only replace Michael Myers with a giant mechanical bear mascot. If you enjoy similar tension and horror, then this book is definitely for you.
For those who have played the games or have watched others play, the book definitely delivers a different tone, especially compared to the first Five Nights at Freddy’s. The protagonists of the book have motivations and personalities, whereas in the game the protagonists are faceless and voiceless. The games also allow no movement and limited sight, whereas in the book the characters are allowed to move around and see (although sometimes in limitation similar to the games). The scares still mostly come from the animatronics trying to kill the protagonists, but here in the novel the child murders, mystery, and springlock suits are more outlined and defined than in the games. Five Night’s at Freddy’s is loved for the hidden mysteries you have to spot for yourself. In The Silver Eyes, the mystery is a little more defined and obvious, especially if one has played the games.
There are plenty of nods to the games in ways readers who have played the games can enjoy. For example, the first animatronic to attack is Bonnie, Foxy rushes one of the teenagers, and Golden Freddy can teleport. Also, many characters from the second and third games make appearances.
The book itself is a light and short read that, while awfully cliché at times, still provides plenty of scares to enjoy. For those who are fans of the games, The Silver Eyes is a fine adaptation of the first game. It will either entice you into playing the games, or if you already have, definitely brings some of the magic that the games have.